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This Day in History: December 19


1606 – The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery depart England carrying settlers who found, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.

1776 – Thomas Paine publishes one of a series of pamphlets in The Pennsylvania Journal entitled "The American Crisis".

1777 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington's Continental Army goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

1828 – Nullification Crisis: Vice President of the United States John C. Calhoun pens the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, protesting the Tariff of 1828.

1907 – Two hundred thirty-nine coal miners die in the Darr Mine Disaster in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.

1912 – William Van Schaick, captain of the steamship General Slocum which caught fire and killed over one thousand people, is pardoned by U.S. President William Howard Taft after three-and-a-half-years in Sing Sing prison.

1941 – World War II: Adolf Hitler becomes Supreme Commander-in-chief of the German Army.

1972 – Apollo program: The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth.

1974 – Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford under the provisions of the twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1975 – John Paul Stevens is appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

1995 – The United States Government restores federal recognition to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Native American tribe.

1998 – President Bill Clinton is impeached by the United States House of Representatives, becoming the second President of the United States to be impeached.


1714 – John Winthrop, American astronomer and educator (d. 1779)

1875 – Carter G. Woodson, American historian and author, founded Black History Month (d. 1950)

1894 – Ford Frick, American journalist and businessman (d. 1978)

1918 – Professor Longhair, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 1980)

1920 – Little Jimmy Dickens, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2015)

1920 – David Susskind, American talk show host and producer (d. 1987)

1941 – Maurice White, American singer-songwriter and producer (Earth, Wind & Fire) (d. 2016)

1952 – Walter Murphy, American pianist and composer


1878 – Bayard Taylor, American author and poet (b. 1825)

1899 – Henry Ware Lawton, American general (b. 1843)

1953 – Robert Andrews Millikan, American physicist and eugenicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1868)

2000 – Pops Staples, American singer and guitarist (The Staple Singers) (b. 1915)

2008 – Carol Chomsky, American linguist and educator (b. 1930)

2012 – Robert Bork, American lawyer, judge, and scholar, United States Attorney General (b. 1927)